Farm Bureau News Executive Director Column

By Colleen Cecil, Executive Director – November/December 2021

Colleen Cecil, Butte County Farm Bureau Executive Director

Without looking back, I can assume that my final 2020 column is going to start the same way as this one. I am looking forward to 2021 ending! Albeit, we did have a much better 2021 than we did 2020, but I am ready for normal, whatever that is anymore.

I can say that 2021 is ending much busier than last year. We have packed our calendar and look forward to seeing you as many times as you want to see us. By the time you read this, we will have hosted our October Tailgate Talk in Richvale. Farm City Celebration and BCFB is excited to working with our amazing ag community to celebrate year 41 of the Farm City Celebration.

The Annual Awards Reception will take place on November 3 in Chico, Kids Day on November 4 in Gridley, the Harvest Festival on November 6 in Durham and the always popular Agri-Business Bus Tour, on November 10, will take off and return to the Durham Community Park. More information about all the activities can be found in the pages of this newspaper but you can always visit www.FarmCity.com for details and tickets or call our office at 530-533-1473.

We pleased to have Nationwide back as the presenting sponsor for Grower Day on December 1 at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico. A full trade show and packed grower education program with 4 CE hours (applied) will be available to all who attend plus a complimentary lunch sponsored by Farm Credit West and Golden State Farm Credit. We look forward to seeing you.

If we have learned anything over the last few years it’s that advocacy and education to those outside of our rural community is paramount if we are going to keep farming and ranching in California. To help with this need, I have hosted a series of monthly lunches and have invited women from our local rural community for networking and conversations with local community leaders. Sorry gentlemen, this is ladies only. If you might be interested in hearing from passionate and respected local leaders about the importance of being engaged in your community, call me. I want to add you to the contact list. Our next luncheon will be on November 12 and I am excited to welcome former Butte County Supervisor Jane Dolan as our guest speaker.

We are nothing without our members. It is important that we are in a position to keep providing the services and programs that you have come to need and enjoy. To do this, the BCFB Board of Directors has voted to increase dues of our agricultural and business members by $25 annually, effective January 1, 2022.  We don’t make these decisions lightly but it is necessary to keep our operations in a positive position moving forward. Should anyone have any questions about the dues increase, I would be happy to chat with you personally. Please don’t hesitate to call me at the office or on my cell phone. You are more than welcome to even stop by if you would like.

Don’t forget! Our #StillFarming sweatshirt inventory is up to date if you are need a new hoodie. Visit www.ButteFarmBureauStore.com.

Lastly, I am excited to wish you a bountiful Thanksgiving, a blessed Christmas Season and a spectacular New Year!

Butte County Farm Bureau Job Announcement

Job Title: Programs Coordinator/Butte Ag Foundation

 The Butte County Farm Bureau has an immediate opening for a full-time Program Coordinator. The ideal candidate will be a creative and personable, self-starter who has experience interacting with members of the agriculture community and maintains a high degree of rapport with key audiences.

 Responsibilities:

  • Manage the execution of multiple BCFB events, education courses and programs. Tasks may include but will not be limited to:
  • Invitation and promotional materials creation.
  • Handling of event contractors including such as caterers, rental firms, venues, sound, etc.
  • Recruiting event sponsors and tracking sponsor data.
  • Coordinating volunteers.
  • Attendance tracking.
  • Organizing, set-up, take down and pick-up and return of borrowed/rented event needs.
  • Manage production of BCFB Newspaper, electronic newsletter, and marketing material as needed.
  • Create content and collect news information for inclusion in bi-monthly newspaper.
  • Manage advertisements including monthly billing and payment collection, contract renewal, and solicitation of new advertisers.
  • Prepare the membership update for the newspaper.
  • Work with BCFB Executive Director and newspaper designer to produce a timely and accurate publication.
  • Prepare monthly/as needed electronic communications to membership.
  • Maintain BCFB and associated entity websites
  • Management of contract programs.
  • Acts as contact for external program requests and information gathering.
  • Scheduling correspondence and communications to Board and Program contacts.
  • Attends all Board and Standing Committee meetings; liaison for board members.
  • Acts as a contact for Board support, requests and information. Assembles and distributes board packets. Arranges room preparations.
  • Prepares reports and updates to Programs as needed.
  • Manages phone calls, emails and website for contract programs. Responds appropriately and forwards questions and/or complaints to appropriate contact.
  • Provides administrative support for budget, proposals, mailings, and newsletters and e-newsletters.
  • Answer telephones, greet members and the public entering the office.
  • Perform general clerical duties as needed to include but not limited to: letter writing, photocopying, faxing, mailing and filing. Assist in the organization and maintenance of the office so that it operates effectively and efficiently.
  • Support membership development and retention of the organization.
  • Attend and assist in the organization and execution of all BCFB events as needed.
  • Support BCFB Executive Director, Staff and Board in operation of the Butte County Farm Bureau.

Skills:

  • Passionate self-starter.
  • Personable, creative and organized.
  • Ability to manage their time to accomplish tasks in a routine and timely manner.
  • Can work independently without supervision.
  • Working knowledge of computer programs including but not limited to Word, Excel, Outlook, Publisher, QuickBooks and InDesign.
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal.
  • Willingness to balance working with different responsibilities and manage multiple priorities in a professional and productive manner.
  • Maintains a basic belief in the value of Farm Bureau membership, community organizations, and the agricultural industry.
  • Willingness to learn, ask for help, and offer and accept suggestions in a professional manner.
  • Able to assist in coordinating volunteers.
  • Have a good work ethic.
  • Desire to work in a team environment and with volunteers.

Qualifications:

  • Equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university with major course work in agriculture, communications, public relations or a related field.
  • Passionate about agriculture.
  • Will be supportive of other staff.
  • An ability to work on own initiative; be proactive, organized and find solutions to problems and challenges.
  • Current CA Driver’s License.
  • Reliable transportation.

Compensation:
Hourly, DOE
Medical, dental and vision benefits
Paid vacation and sick leave
Phone stipend
Mileage reimbursement

Application:
To apply, please submit the following items by November 12, 2021 to jobs@buttefarmbureau.com

  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • Three references with contact information

For questions regarding this posting, please contact:
Colleen Cecil
Butte County Farm Bureau
Executive Director
jobs@buttefarmbureau.com
Office: 530‐533‐1473
Cell: 530‐370‐3879

About the Butte County Farm Bureau

Butte County Farm Bureau (BCFB) is a non-profit grass roots organization whose purpose is to protect and promote the local agricultural community through outreach and advocacy. BCFB is part of California’s largest farm organization the California Farm Bureau Federation which is comprised of 53 county Farm Bureaus representing 32,000 members in 56 counties.

BCFB strives to protect and improve the ability of farmers and ranchers engaged in production agriculture to provide a reliable supply of food and fiber through responsible stewardship of California’s resources.

Farm Bureau is organized on a county, state and national basis. The county Farm Bureau is the nucleus of the organization. Membership is voluntary by payment of nominal annual dues which entitles them to the wide range of services and benefits of membership.

http://www.buttefarmbureau.com

Thank You


By Colleen Cecil, Executive Director
Butte County Farm Bureau News
January/February 2021

We learned many new words and phrases in 2020. Many words and phrases that I would love to never say again, like pandemic and socially distanced. There is however one phrase of two little words that I want to bring attention to as we look forward to 2021. 

Thank you. Simple, kind and full of gratitude if you say it right. 

Thank you to the employees that keep our farms and ranches operating efficiently.

Thank you to the businesses that provide the goods and services that our ag community relies on. 

Thank you to you, the members of the Butte County Farm Bureau, with whom we would have no purpose. 

Thank you to our 1917 Club members for your support and investment in our organization. 

Thank you to our Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee for wanting to be part of something bigger and ensuring the future of agriculture will remain bright. 

Thank you to our Butte County Farm Bureau supporters. To all of the businesses, organizations, families and persons who have sponsored an event, bought a ticket, raised your hand in an auction, ordered a sweatshirt or hat, entered a raffle or placed an ad in our newspaper, thank you. 

Thank you to our committee members for your work and time to ensure the voice of our farmers and ranchers are heard. 

Thank you to our volunteer Butte County Farm Bureau Board of Directors for your time, commitment to our organization and for reading the many emails I send you. You are reading them, right?

Thank you to our Executive Committee – Lee, Walt, Blain, Shawn, Darren and Stacey – for your leadership, for answering the phone when I call and responding to text message questions and concerns. 

Thank you to our staff – Rachel and Heather – for your passion, skill and commitment to our organization and our members. 

Thank you to our families. For my husband Jake, Heather and Rachel’s husbands and the spouses of our Board members. We thank you for your support and endless understanding of the “I have a Farm Bureau thing” phone calls. 

Thank you to 103 years of Butte County Farm Bureau. 

We look forward to visiting with you in 2021, in-person and in Richvale at our temporary offices at 1148 Richvale Hwy, inside the Richvale Irrigation District office building.

Welcome 2021. We’ve been waiting for you. 

Colleen Cecil, Executive Director
Butte County Farm Bureau

New membership categories available

Executive Director Column
By Colleen Cecil
Butte County Farm Bureau News
January/February 2019

It’s a New Year and we are excited to be bringing you a new Butte County Farm Bureau level of membership that will help to make navigating the regulatory framework easier.

As of January 1st, the Butte County Farm Bureau will offer a new level of membership that gives you all the benefits of being a Farm Bureau member and an AgSafe member for one annual price.

agsafe

You’re probably asking, “who is AgSafe and why should I consider this level of membership?”

If you have taken one of the many education courses we offer here at BCFB over the last three years, you have already interacted with AgSafe. Since 1991 AgSafe has worked alongside food and farming enterprises to help in creating a safe, sustainable workforce and food supply, by providing practical education and resources.

The non-profit organization, AgSafe is headquartered in Modesto and has a “boots on the ground” approach to teaching both the why and how of worker safety, human resources, pesticide safety and food safety. They are your partner in protecting workers in the field, as well as packing, processing and food manufacturing facilities.

The new level of BCFB membership is the Agriculture Safe Membership and it will be $325 a year. Agriculture Safe Members receive all the benefits of a BCFB Agriculture Member plus the benefits of being an AgSafe Micro Member. BCFB Agriculture Safe Members will have access to a 1-800 BCFB Hotline to get answers to any questions or concerns regarding worker safety, HR, pesticide compliance and food safety plus you’ll receive a 15% discount on any AgSafe Workplace Compliance Package.

Do you have an Injury Illness Prevention Plan? How about a Food Safety Plan? Maybe you don’t have an Employee Handbook but know you need one? AgSafe can work with you to create these items that are specific to your operation and your agricultural commodity. Did I mention you get a discount on these additional services because you’re a BCFB Agriculture Safe Member? (I did; just making sure you read it.)

Maybe you still want to learn more? I don’t blame you. First I would encourage you to visit www.AgSafe.org and review what AgSafe offers. As a BCFB Agriculture Safe Member you are going to get a username and password for the AgSafe website that will give you the ability to use and download the hundreds of free resources, webinars and templates that you can put into work on your operation immediately.

Next, you need to attend Grower Day on Wednesday, January 9th at the CSU Chico University Farm and hear from AgSafe CEO Amy Wolfe who will be our keynote speaker. Amy is going to speak to the realities of agricultural compliance and why you need to care about it.

Look for more about Grower Day on page _ of this newspaper. Please make note of our new location for Grower Day, the CSU Chico University Farm. Doors open at 7:30 AM. The coffee will be hot, the donuts will be fresh and our sold out tradeshow of local ag companies will be on hand. I want to give a big thanks to Grower Day Presenting Sponsor Nationwide. We are thankful to Nationwide and all of our sponsors and vendors who help make Grower Day possible and have been incredibly flexible and understanding with our change in date and venue for Grower Day.

Lastly, on behalf of the Butte County Farm Bureau and the Butte Ag Foundation, I want to thank the many who supported the Camp Fire Animal Agriculture Fund. We continue to pray for all who have impacted by the fire and are looking forward to a new year and new beginnings.

Camp Fire Animal Agriculture Assistance Fund

On behalf of the agricultural community of Butte County, the Butte Ag Foundation will accept monetary donations that will be used to feed and maintain the livestock that have been impacted by the Camp Fire.

Large and small animals are currently being housed and cared for at the Butte County Fairgrounds in Gridley. The extensive and devastating damage of the Camp Fire has all but eliminated the pens, corrals and barns that these animals once called home. It is likely that many will reside at the fairgrounds for weeks after the fire is contained. Donations to the Butte Ag Foundation will be used for feed, supplies, and health needs of the animals that cannot easily be met through other dedicated funds.

Should funds remain after the livestock have been reunited with owners and/or placed in new homes, funds will be used to repair, replace and or upgrade livestock facilities for future crisis use.

The Butte Agriculture Foundation is a 501(c)3 Public Benefit Corporation and supports locally organized agriculture groups and committees to provide the resources and services needed to be successful in the efforts to inform and promote the value of our agrarian community. For more information visit http://www.ButteAgFoundation.org or call (530) 533-1473. You may also email info@buttefarmbureau.com.

From the Executive Director

Each issue of the Butte County Farm Bureau Newsletter includes an editorial from Executive Director Colleen Cecil. The following was printed in the September/October 2018 Issue of the Butte County Farm News which is mailed to current members of the Butte County Farm Bureau.

colleen

I can now add protester to my resume. So can the approximately 80 others from Butte, Glenn, Tehama, Colusa, Yuba and Sutter County Farm Bureaus who jumped on our two chartered busses and headed for Sacramento on Monday, August 20th for the well-publicized Water Grab Rally that took place on the North steps of the Capitol.

It was a day with mixed emotion for me. I was excited to be participating and as I do when I am excited, I smiled. To add to the energy of the day, I saw many in our industry that I consider friends. People who I had not seen in years; people who I have grown up with and worked alongside. We were all there for the same reason and I was generally happy. But I was reminded by someone taking my picture that I probably shouldn’t look so happy. After all, the reason we were there was not a reason to celebrate. I was and still am down right infuriated over the State Water Boards plan for unimpaired flows on the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers.

There is a more factual and detailed article about the Bay Delta Plan Amendment in this newspaper that I encourage you to read to begin to understand the complicated events that have been and will continue to unfold. I however wanted to reflect on the day itself.

More than 1500 people gathered that day. The rally was organized by Assemblyman Adam Gray from the Merced area. The event was important enough that four Congressmen and almost a dozen California Assemblymembers and Senators all addressed those who gathered. Also providing remarks were Central Valley County Supervisors and City Council members.  Each detailing how the unimpaired flows would devastate their already struggling communities.

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Assemblymember Gray was the event organizer but it was County Farm Bureau’s that rallied the masses. My colleagues from Merced, Stanislaus, San Joaquin and the North State County Farm Bureaus listed above, spent about five weeks planning our participation with a weekly conference call hosted by California Farm Bureau.

We worked with CFBF’s legal team to see that fact sheets were developed and made public so we could more easily educate on the complicated topic.  We ordered charter busses and identified pick up stops in major points in our community. We blasted social media – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – with notification of the rally and encouragement to participate. I even remember the Facebook post that joked about needing a band at the event. The joke was on them as the Merced Unified High School District made it possible for the Atwater High Marching Band to be in attendance at the rally and keep the energy high.

As much as I wish we didn’t have to participate in this rally, I can now look back and say we needed it. We needed to see farmers from the North and the South join voices for the same issue – water. We chanted, we held our handmade and printed signs, we stood with lifelong farmers and the future of our industry as many blue jackets of the FFA participated too. We showed Sacramento’s appointed regulators they can’t divide us and we are not going to just “adjust” to this new regulation like we have for so many others.

We didn’t win but we were heard. The State Water Board has now pushed their decision on the Phase One till November 7, that day after the November election. Negotiations will continue.

I picked up my boys from school late that Monday afternoon and my six year old, who knew I was going to the Capitol in Sacramento for the Water Rally, asked me, “Mom did they take the farmers water today?” I smiled and told him not today, buddy. Not today.

Why haven’t you joined?

By Lee Heringer, Butte County Farm Bureau 1st Vice President

The Butte County Farm Bureau is represented by growers, farmers and ag business owners. We at BCFB are a part of the California Farm Bureau Federation, representing everything in the state from tree crops to timber, livestock to lettuce. Without membership at the local level, the County would be ill represented at the State level. That is the definition of grassroots. The BCFB Board is made up of your friends and neighbors. We reside in the furthest north areas of Vina to the southernmost reaches of Wyandotte sub basin, from the foothills to the east and west to the Sacramento River. We are farmers, ranchers, processors, bankers and ag industry professionals who take the time to study the issues and decide what we believe is the best course of action for our members. The county board is open for anyone who wants to take the time to look at the bigger picture and learn, in much more detail, about the industry that supports us all.

We here locally have been able to foster leadership and advocacy, at the local and state level, for our issues and be vocal enough to be heard. Work is being done every day on your behalf. It may not show sometimes, after all it is an uphill battle in California. The work of educating lawmakers, debating issues with regulators and legislators, lobbying for private property rights and against bur- densome laws and onerous taxes are responsibilities that Farm Bureau, both locally and at the State level, have been taking on for decades. We have a full time staff who work tirelessly on our issues. You’ve seen them on the news and you’ve seen them at meetings. They are hard at work defending our existence.

As we all know, it has become a full time job on the farm to simply remain compliant. Laws spring up every day deal- ing with issues we are all too aware of. The Food Safety Modernization Act for example, requires every farm to have someone on staff trained to recognize potential threats to food safety. This goes into such detail that wildlife intrusion into your fields and employee hand washing are included. Another example is the Farm Evaluation Survey and corresponding Sediment Erosion Plan if appropriate. We are lucky to have an irrigated education coordinator in the Butte County Farm Bureau office. In this capacity we are able to act as a local voice to State regulators, and help guide you through the process using public outreach meetings we’ve all attended, as well as shield you from further scrutiny.

Farming has become more than simply planting, growing, harvesting and selling. It has become a nearly daily battle of defending your right to farm, that what you are doing is important and necessary. There aren’t many industries under such an assault. Those that are have organizations defending their way of life and their livelihoods. We have Farm Bureau. Farm Bureau is known as the organization that is in the room when decisions are made. When there is something being decided upon, we have people in the room voicing our side. We may not win them all, but it’s not from lack of trying.

One cannot put their head down and ignore what’s coming. The State relies on farmers to do just that. They view California agricultures diversity of crops as a negative for us, banking on different segments of this industry fracturing and protecting their own. Many regulations and especially lawsuits are first introduced into the more rural areas without a lot of money or legal availability. The idea is to build up these easy wins while the rest of the State doesn’t pay attention, saying “that’s their problem.” Pretty soon, and with a full head of steam, the legal precedent is set and it is everybody’s problem.

Even if you are not interested in the politics, your membership dues go towards progreams you can benefit from, such as Grower Day, which pro- vides growers with valuable information as well as CE credits for PCA’s, CCA’s and BYS outreach hours. The Drive Thru BBQ’s, where all proceeds go to scholarships for local high school students bound for Ag related higher education.

You may not be the type who wants to speak up and voice your opinion, but it is important to support those who do it for you. You might not agree with everything the Farm Bureau does, but the overall goal is to continue the Butte County legacy of agriculture into the future. Join up and show your support for the industry that literally puts food on the table. Become involved, join the board, read Ag Alert, contribute to FARMPAC. Come to some meetings (it’s not a secret; they are the first Thursday of every month).

For those of you who are already members, we’d like to thank you for your support. You recognize the importance of the work being done behind the scenes advocating for our industry. For those of you who aren’t, I’d like to offer an invitation to join the fight, in whatever capacity you see fit. It’s never too late to join. Our membership coordinator, Amy Alves, can assist you with any questions you may have regarding your membership. Call her at the office or chat with any board member you may run into at the next meeting.

BCFB Statement on Settlement Reached in Duarte Case

For Immediate Release
Colleen Cecil
colleen@buttefarmbureau.com
530-533-1473

Statement from Clark Becker, Butte County Farm Bureau President on the settlement reached in Federal case against California Farmer John Duarte:

“I don’t know a single farmer that would have stood up to the Federal Government for as long as John Duarte did. At the same time, we also can’t blame him for settling and protecting his family.”

“When it is your family that would ultimately suffer, you do what you have to do to protect them. The Federal Government assessed the worth of multiple generations of the Duarte family and their agricultural business to threaten John with a penalty so large it would have ruined his life and the lives of his 500 employees and their families. Settling for a lessor penalty was his best case scenario unfortunately, and the Federal Government knew that.”

“We thank John Duarte, Duarte Nursery, Inc. and the Pacific Legal Foundation for keeping the spotlight on the confusing, conflicting and misinterpreted government regulations that businesses are expected to understand and follow and a Federal agency interpreting a clear law to accomplish its own agenda with zero regard for fact, science or humanity.”

Standing Up for Duarte Nursery

OUTDOOR ADVENTURE
On Aug 11, 2017, the Butte County Farm Bureau introduced a challenge to all California County Farm Bureau’s and all State and County Farm Bureau’s in the US to make a donation to the Duarte Legal fund of $10 per agriculture member of each County Farm Bureau.
Butte County Farm Bureau President Clark Becker said, “John Duarte has put his family’s entire livelihood at risk to fight for you – America’s Farmers and Ranchers. He will soon have the opportunity to appeal the judges ruling and it is our turn to support him and stand up to protect our farms.”

What is the issue?
The United States government is prosecuting California farmer John Duarte and Duarte Nursery, Inc. of Hughson California under the Clean Water Act for planting wheat in a wheat field in Tehama County, California. The wetlands in question had been farmed to wheat many times prior, were farmed in the same manner as many hundreds of thousands of other acreages, and are still fully functioning as wetlands.

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Plowing is legal under the Clean Water Act, but so far the United States government has successfully argued that plowing is only legal if it does not move soil. The Duarte’s, like other farmers, have yet to understand how plowing can be done without moving soil. If this unprecedented prosecution succeeds, it threatens nearly every farm in the United States.

Who are the Duarte’s?
The Duarte Family is a multigenerational farming family in California. Their main business is Duarte Nursery, Inc. in Hughson, CA, which annually employs up to 700 people and serves over 1,500 farm customers with nursery trees and vines.

What did they do to trigger this prosecution?
In 2012 the Duarte’s planted winter wheat on the property. Wheat plantings and the shallow tillage involved have never triggered regulation, nor required permitting prior to this case. The prosecution got started when a federal bureaucrat confused the shallow 4-6 inch tillage operation with 3-4 feet deep ripping for vineyard or orchard preparation.

In February of 2013 the Duarte’s received a letter from the federal government ordering them to cease and desist all work on the property. The Duartes requested a hearing to establish facts. They were not granted a hearing. Through the Pacific Legal Foundation, the Duartes sued for a Constitutional violation of their Fifth Amendment right to due process. There is direct evidence that this destruction of wetlands suit is in retaliation for the Duartes civil rights action against the government.

What are the penalties being sought?
$2.8M in direct penalty, loss of use of their land, and $20-$30 million in additional mitigation paid to a private third-party organization. These penalties are not based on environmental harm, but rather on the government’s assessment of how much it can squeeze from the Duartes. No farmer or investor in farming could afford these kinds of penalties for a mere wheat crop.

What wetlands are jurisdictional under the CWA?
The Clean Water Act regulates “navigable water of the United States … ” Courts and agencies have greatly expanded what most would consider navigable waters, to include large areas of property that are bone-dry most of the year, except for when they pool small amounts of water in the wet season.

This prosecution is brought under the rules that existed before the Obama Administration promulgated the new rule in 2015- the “WOTUS Rule”- expanding the Clean Water Act. That WOTUS Rule has been stayed by the federal courts, and the Trump Administration has formally proposed the new rule’s repeal. In other words, Duarte is being prosecuted under the definition of “navigable waters” that existed before the Obama Administration’s rule, and which would exist if the Trump Administration is successful in repealing that new rule.

Aren’t farming practices excluded from CWA enforcement?
Yes. Originally very broadly. Federal agencies are attempting to greatly narrow the original intent to include only lands that are continuously farmed to the same or similar crops, and then only if that farming does not involve moving soil. This is unworkable for farmers who must plow their land to plant crops, and adapt to markets. Wheat prices were very low for decades until the global food shortages that occurred between 2009 and 2013. We can recall tortilla riots in Mexico City, the Arab Spring and high food inflation with low wage growth during this period. This narrow interpretation is not only unworkable for farmer; it also threatens national food security and is anti-human.

What are the civil rights issues?
The case started with a Fifth Amendment Due Process claim that asserted that the Duartes had a right to an impartial hearing before they could be deprived of their right to farm their land.

The destruction of wetlands counterclaim was justified by a Federal attorney with the statement, “They’re suing us so we are suing them back.” This is a First Amendment free speech violation against the Duartes.

The Eighth Amendment is usually noted for protection against cruel and unusual punishment yet also protects us from ruinous fines. The prosecution’s stated penalties in this case are clearly aimed at being ruinous.

What has the Judge ruled so far?
That Duartes shallow tillage violated the Clean Water Act, and that the federal government is immune from suit even when it violates constitutional rights.

This doesn’t sound right. Is there more to the story?
No. It really is just a wheat field with 4-7 inch tillage. Field tours are available.

Activities
The Duarte Nursery, Inc legal and lobbying teams are in full operation. In California, the legal team is preparing for trial, which begins August 15, 2017. This will be a $500k effort alone.

In Washington DC, the Duarte Nursery Inc. lobbying team is working to access multiple agencies in the Trump administration. This is an additional costly effort.

Partners
The Pacific Legal Foundation is prosecuting the Constitutional claims against the U.S. government.

The California Farm Bureau Federation has created the Duarte Defense Account, which has received over $100K in donations from Farm Bureaus and other agriculture advocacy groups nationwide. The Butte County Farm Bureau Challenge will ask for funds to be submitted to the California Farm Bureau Federation for collection and distribution.

If you wish to donate via the Butte County Farm Bureau/California Farm Bureau, donate online here or mail your donations to :
California Farm Bureau Federation
2300 River Plaza Drive
Sacramento, CA 95833
Check Memo Line: Duarte/Tehama Wetland Defense Fund

Protect the Harvest Foundation will be coordinating additional private donations to the Duarte Nursery, Inc. defense.

Donations are being accepted at Go Fund Me.

Resources: Duarte Tehema – Duarte Stands Up Facebook Page

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Friday Review – 4.7

Stay up to date with important news of the week with the weekly Friday Review.

California Legislature votes to raise gas taxes, vehicle fees by $5.2 billion a year for road repairs and transit [Los Angeles Times]

After a week of fierce debate between opposing interests, the state Legislature on Thursday approved a plan to raise gas taxes and vehicle fees by $5.2 billion a year to pay for the repair of California’s pothole-ridden, decaying system of roads, highways and bridges. The bill squeaked through the Senate on a 27-11 vote and cleared the Assembly with 54 votes, the bare minimum required in both houses. The measure sparked suspenseful wrangling in the waning hours of Thursday, with Assembly Democrats initially three votes short of securing the two-thirds threshold needed to approve a new tax. Ultimately, all but one Assembly Democrat, Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield), backed the bill. View Article

Salinas Valley ag industry coalition agrees to pilot replacement drinking water program [Monterey County Herald]

A coalition of 21 Salinas Valley landowners, agricultural companies and operators have reached an agreement with state water regulators to provide replacement drinking water for some 850 rural Salinas Valley residents whose small water systems and domestic wells have been contaminated with nitrates. Without admitting responsibility for the contamination, the Salinas Basin Agricultural Stewardship Group has agreed in cooperation with the State Water Resources Control Board and the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board to supply drinking water for up to two years starting this month to those whose water exceeds state and federal nitrate standards, according to a release issued Thursday. View Article

Environmental groups suing EPA over allowing continued use of controversial pesticide [Capital Public Radio]

Environmental groups are suing the federal Environmental Protection Agency over its decision to allow the continued use of a controversial pesticide, widely used on crops in California. The groups say the EPA needs to ban Chlorpyrifos….Cynthia Cory with the California Farm Bureau says her organization is happy with the recent move by the EPA. She says the bureau wants five years for risk assessment, even if that means restrictions will eventually be put in place. “We’ll live with that as long as we’re doing it not in the courts but with the scientists and the risk-assessment process,” says Cory. View Article